With one week left of spring football, UCA Bears coach Nathan Brown is looking for the team to start tightening things up before heading to the offseason.
“At this point, we’re trying to zero-in on what we’re good at because we’ve got 70 to 80 percent of our defense in,” he said. “Let’s find out what we’re good at and what we can execute. Going into the spring game (Saturday), just be simple and try to get better. I think that’s a cliché answer, but really at this point, we know what we’ve got other than freshmen that are coming in that could help us.
“This is our team and I think our coordinators are seeing what they are playing with, and I know they’re pleased with what they’ve got.”
In the final scrimmage before spring break, the offense fumbled a few times, but Brown likes how the offense looked Saturday.
“I think we protected the ball better on offense,” he said. “When you practice 11, you should have. I think we’re getting the plays in and out and executing our offense and defense better than what we have the previous scrimmages. We’re doing a lot of good things. We had a lot of plays being made on both sides of the football.
“What I do like seeing is the efficiency is going up. We’re being more efficient with our movements and knowing what to do. I’m very pleased with that. We had a lot of situational football and that was a big point of emphasis today. We had gone to open field stuff to see who could block, tackle and make plays. We wanted to see who could make plays on the goal line or who could make plays in the red zone.”
Brown was pleased with several players, starting with the running backs.
“Those first three running backs have a chance to be a special group with [junior] Carlos Blackman, [sophomore] Kierre Crossley and [senior] Cedric Battle,” he said. “They’re playmakers. At times, you have to reel them in a little bit because they try to make too big play. They’re really good football players.”
He said sophomore quarterback Breylin Smith is looking good.
“I think Breylin Smith continues to stand out,” he said “He continues to make smart decisions and has a real feel for the game that is hard to coach. He’s got a feel in the pocket. He’ll make shovel plays, if he needs to.”
Brown sees a lot of big things for redshirt freshman wide receiver LuJuan Winningham.
“LuJuan Winningham, the redshirt freshman from Houston, made it a lot of big plays today,” he said. “I know he has a bright future as long as he continues to mature. You’ll see big things out of him next year.”
Brown also likes what the defense has done this spring.
“Our defensive front has a chance to be special,” he said. “They are led by [junior] Chris Terrell and [redshirt sophomore] Austin Norris. [sophomore] J.W. Jones continues to flash. It’s good to see him grow up. Then, you have [seniors] Eric Jackson and Marseth Andry. It’s just a good group of guys.
“Our corners continue to make plays. I’m pleased with [sophomore] Robert Rochell and [junior] Trai Mosley. They’re doing some good things. I think we have a chance to be really good defensively again.”
The Bears wrap up spring football at 2 p.m. Saturday with their annual Purple/Gray game.